Bobby Shew on proper breathing for brass players

By Michael Lake | January 17, 2021 |

Bobby Shew is a well-known trumpet great. What people may not know is that he is also a world-class teacher. I had an opportunity to sit down with Bobby and ask him questions for close to three hours. We covered a lot of topics, but the nearest and dearest to his heart was on his…

Great artistic success with great material gain

By Michael Lake | January 16, 2021 |

Rarely does great artistic success lead to great material gain. Much more often, these two are at great odds against each other. Richie Beirach and I thought it would be interesting to write something about this¬†important topic. Will it turn into a book? I don’t know but I think that’s what we’re aiming for. The…

Audio equipment for sale

By Michael Lake | January 15, 2021 |

  After nearly 30 years of collecting quality audio gear to create music, I am selling a good portion of it. So much of the gear can now be found in the computer in the form of plugins that I no longer need floor to ceiling racks of knobs and flashing lights to adorn my…

An unusual testimonial on the Art of Skill

By Michael Lake | January 13, 2021 |

The Art of Skill – the book Dave Liebman and I put together – is selling well. I’m getting a lot of positive feedback. I’m in the middle of recording the book for an audiobook version. It’s a ton of work but I think there are a good amount of people who like to listen…

A simple test and training of your jazz ear

By Michael Lake | January 5, 2021 |

If you watched my masterclass entitled, The Magic of Deep Listening, you heard me describe something I like to do when I hear a non-musical tone out in the real world (airplane engine, train horn, animal, etc.) I sing that tone and play around with it. Here’s a simple thing you can do with that…

Join me in making this your best year yet

By Michael Lake | January 1, 2021 |

As we all bid good riddance to 2020, I look forward to 2021 and the success I can help you and others achieve – in playing or in something else. It’s been exactly one year since I left corporate life in order to pursue a career building an organization and community that will help musicians…

Good advice from three jazz masters on finding one’s musical voice

By Michael Lake | September 20, 2020 |

One of my favorite things to ask great players is where players can discover their musical voice. One that reflects who they are within their technical abilities. This is a very abstract and philosophical topic, but one at the heart of playing jazz. Jazz improvisation is a deeply personal art. As you play, you are…

Steve Swallow and Dave Liebman on finding one’s musical personality

By Michael Lake | September 15, 2020 |

I had the thrill of interviewing bassist Steve Swallow last week for the next Jazz Master Summit. As I expected, Steve was a wealth of information about everything from bass pickups to zen. Later in the conversation, I asked Steve a question that I frequently ask myself and others. In fact, Dave Liebman and I…

Remembering Bill Evans on September 15

By Michael Lake | September 15, 2020 |

Richie Beirach called me today and after our friendly banter, told me that in Germany it was September 15th. “Do you know that 40 years ago today, Bill Evans passed?” “No”, I said with a small amount of shame. “Well, you should write something about it in your blog”, he told me. We discussed it…

Is jazz improvisation hard?

By Michael Lake | September 10, 2020 |

I saw this question online recently. The number of results for this question on Google is 6.1 million so it’s worth answering. Is jazz improvisation hard?¬† YES. There are two forms of jazz soloing. One form is comprised of stringing together scales, arpeggios, memorized licks, and patterns in order to skillfully weave notes over the…